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Periodontal ligament (PDL) cells play an important role in wound healing of periodontal tissues. Response of PDL cells' cellular activity to high-glucose concentration levels may be the key in understanding the relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes mellitus. We studied the effect of high-glucose medium on proliferation of PDL cells in vitro. PDL cells were cultured for 1, 4, 7, 10, 14 and 17 days in normal (1100 mg/l) glucose or in high (4500 mg/l) glucose medium. The 3-(4,5-dimethylithiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay for proliferation was performed. In order to evaluate the osteogenetic differentiation of human PDL cells, the cells were induced with normal- or high-glucose medium for 1, 7, 14, 21 and 28 days. The results indicated that high glucose significantly inhibited proliferation of PDL cells. Concerning the mineralised nodule formation, the percentage of calcified area to total culture dish of PDL cells in high glucose level was lower than that in normal glucose medium. The increase in alkaline phosphatase activity and collagen expression could be observed in high-glucose-containing osteogenetic factor. In conclusion, high glucose improves healing of periodontal wound by inhibiting proliferation and differentiation of PDL cells, which could explain for delayed periodontal regeneration and healing in diabetic patients.